Tuesday 29 Jul

Escape from Tomorrow

With Escape from Tomorrow, one fears the story behind the movie would loom larger than the movie itself. Luckily, that is not the case. After all, it opens with a decapitation on Disney World’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster.
05/06/2014 | Comments 0


William Friedkin spends a lot of time in his 2013 memoir discussing why Sorcerer didn't click with critics and audiences even though he believes it to be better than his previous film, The Exorcist. Now that Warner Home Video has reissued Sorcerer on Blu-ray, we can see what Friedkin's fuss is all about.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broadchurch: The Complete First Season

Welcome to the coastal resort of Broadchurch, population … oh, who can keep track, what will all the corpses? Yes, Broadchurch is yet another British television procedural involving the search for a murderer in a quaint little town, just like the limited series The Fall and Top of the Lake.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Essentially part five in the ridiculously profitable horror franchise, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones continues the found-footage conceit of the other films. The difference is instead of the scares taking place in rich white suburbia, they do so in a junky apartment complex on a largely Latino side of Oxnard, Calif.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Western · Blackthorn


For a taste of Westerns the way they used to be, carve out a slice of time for ‘Blackthorn,’ starring Sam Shepard as a twilight-time Butch Cassidy.

Rod Lott November 30th, 2011

7:30 p.m. Thursday, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch

Early in “Blackthorn,” I had to smile when the line “I can’t trust someone with no name” was uttered. Immediately, it brought to mind Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name character from Sergio Leone’s “Dollars” trilogy — some of the best Westerns ever made. And “Blackthorn” is nothing if not a cinematic celebration of the once-vibrant genre, most notably 1969’s “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” for which this serves as an unofficial sequel.

You may not recall — because Paul Newman or Robert Redford were replaced with the lower-wattage Tom Berenger and William Katt — that “Butch Cassidy” begat another chapter in 1979, a prequel since its true-life characters had died. 

How, then, does “Blackthorn” find a story to continue? Simple: Assume that Cassidy survived the standoff.

Screening Thursday through Sunday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, “Blackthorn” assumes that Cassidy (Sam Shepard, “Fair Game”) has been living alone and incognito under the name James Blackthorn in a Bolivian village. Sensing his time on this earth is limited, the self-described “ordinary old bandit” longs to return to the United States.

He withdraws all his money from the bank and sets out on his horse … and promptly loses both. This unfortunate situation forces him to align with a Spanish engineer-turned-thief (Eduardo Noriega, “Vantage Point”); heavy reluctance is trumped by threats of ever-increasing danger.

Although flashbacks show Cassidy in his younger days (Nikolaj Coster- Waldau, TV’s “Game of Thrones”) with the Sundance Kid (Padraic Delaney, TV’s “The Tudors”), the film directed by Mateo Gil (screenwriter of “The Sea Inside”) is its own beast, confident in its own tone. In other words, don’t expect Burt Bacharach singles and bicycle rides. Expect bursts of gunfire and kitchen-table surgeries.

Moviegoers also can look forward to big-screen beauty. Shot lyrically and taking advantage of Bolivian scenery, “Blackthorn” is a Western that delights in welcome views of wide-open vistas, in the comforting sounds of horses’ hoofs on cracked desert floors.

It also has what so many old Westerns lacked: plot and a fantastic lead performance. Whereas John Wayne commanded a presence, his acting often was deficient.

Not so with Shepard, who arguably has been given his meatiest role since breaking the sound barrier as Chuck Yeager in 1983’s “The Right Stuff.” His Cassidy doesn’t think of himself as an adventure hero who delights in past treasures, but a simple man who values friendship above all else, especially with the golden-years benefit of hindsight: “I’ve been my own man — nothin’ richer than that.”

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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